English is not an easy language to learn. In fact, English is a complex language, filled with traps that we all often fall into. So, if you’re currently in the process of learning English, and you’re struggling to get to grips with the grammar, don’t take it to heart. Some English mistakes are very common and frequently seen in magazines, newspapers, journals and online. Many people make mistakes when speaking or writing in English. But, if you known which are the most common errors in English usage, you can improve your writing skills and become more competent writer and fluent English speaker.
So, without any further ado, here is the list of the eight most common mistakes in English writing and speaking you need to avoid!
IT’S / ITS
Its is a possessive pronoun and indicates something belonging to something that isn’t feminine or masculine (“his” or “hers”). Its is used when you’re not talking about a person.
- This pillow is too big for its case.
- The monkey is in its zoo.
It’s, on the other hand, is the contraction of “it is” or “it has.”
- It’s a good day for walking.
- It’s a cloudy day.
The confusion between the different uses of it’s and its occurs because possessives normally have an apostrophe in them, so many English speakers naturally want to use it’s to mean “something belonging to it.” Its, however, doesn’t have an apostrophe when it’s used as a possessive.
YOUR / YOU’RE
Your is a possessive pronoun and means “belonging to you” or “related to you.”
- Your job is very exciting.
- Is this your dog?
You’re is the contraction of you are.
- You’re going to amaze them with your intelligence.
- You’re really a good friend.
BOUGHT / BROUGHT
it is common to hear native English speakers using the word “bought” when meaning “brought” and vice versa, despite the fact that these two words mean different things.
Bought relates to buying something.
- She bought an expensive bag yesterday.
- Our products can be bought at your nearest store.
Brought, on the other hand, is the past participle of bring and relates to bringing something.
- The medication brought instant pain relief.
- The letter brought him memories of childhood.
THEN / THAN
The reason why people confuse these two words is because they are not hearing the words correctly. There’s a small difference in pronunciation, which can make it hard to hear which word is being used.
Then is defined as at that time, immediately or soon afterward. Use then to express time.
- She took her hat and then left.
- Wash the clothes, then put them in the dryer.
Than is used after comparative adjectives. Use than as a word indicating comparison.
- She is way taller than you.
- I like cats better than dogs.
AFFECT / EFFECT
Affect is almost always a verb. Affect means to produce a change in something.
- Sometimes, the weather really affects my mood.
- My family’s opinion did not affect my decision to move to London.
Effect, on the other hand, is almost always a noun and is defined as a result of something.
- The effect of the hurricane was awful.
- The medication had a terrifying effect on my body.
THERE / THEIR / THEY’RE
These three words sound the same but have completely different meanings.
There refers to place or an idea. The place can be both concrete or more abstract.
- Look over there!
- We left there at five.
You can also use “there” to state something, for example – “There are no cookies left in the jar.”
Their is a possessive pronoun and indicates something belonging to them.
- Their cat keeps getting into our backyard.
- My parents have lost their concert tickets.
They’re is the contraction of “they are”.
- They’re my best friends.
- I would go to the theater with you, but they’re already waiting for me.
WEATHER / WHETHER
Weather is a noun referring to the condition of the climate in a particular place at a particular time.
- We protected the house from the weather.
- What’s the weather like there?
Whether is a word used to introduce alternatives.
- Whether she drives or (whether she) flies, she’ll be on time.
- They passed the test, whether by skill or luck.
LOSE / LOOSE
Lose is a verb, to come to be without something or to fail in a competition.
- I was about to lose my necklace.
- I do not wish to lose more weight.
Loose is an adjective and refers to something free, released from attachment or not tight.
- She wears loose clothes when it is hot.
- That is a loose interpretation of your document.